I woke up yesterday with three things to achieve for Need Energy, get a legal adviser, some financial advice and hopefully get some business done. If I managed to get those done, I was sure I would be happy. It didn’t happen that way. I had some good meetings and some really bad interactions.
So here is what happened.
Well to start with a customer ordered LP gas from us. (Yeyy! More business, right?) the order, well it was a bad order, the client threw a tantrum at me, the client had ordered accessories on top of the order for gas. Now, as usual, I got my gas from the depot, then I had to go get the accessories elsewhere, meaning I would delay a bit, which I did. Over and above that she ordered below the minimum quantity for a commercial order. I hustled the order across town, hard as it was, it had to be done. Then after going through that, the client refused to pay the cost of the transaction (you know how it is with these mobile money transactions.) What is a first-time entrepreneur to do? Moving on….
I had the time to process this ordeal on my way to the law firm, it’s part of doing business I guess, and in any case, I had better things to look forward to in the day…. this meeting at this renowned law firm. I was really looking forward to meeting with the legal practitioner, telling them my story and about my journey in building this energy startup with the hope of getting their help on this new solar project that we are working on. I get to the receptionist, she tells me that for me to get legal advice I must pay a “consultancy fee” of $95.00. JUST TO CONSULT. Well, I don’t have $95.00! I then asked if they had someone who focused on or had interests in the energy sector. “Well for that lawyer, you have to pay $350.00 for consultancy fees,” she said. I mean, where do we get the money, I’m just starting up and trying to make it work. I was sure that if I could just have a sit down with the guy one on one and tell him my story he would be willing to help me, but nooo, the entrance was well fortified and guarded.
It was frustrating, but, moving on.
I went to one of the big banks in the city. The uniformed guard was even worse than the receptionist. To put it bluntly, I was chucked out like a stray dog, some very firm words were used that struck deep inside me. Was this even worth it anymore? I’d just about had it. Armed with the experience at the law firm, I went to another bank. This time, with the goal of avoiding the “gate keepers” entirely. It worked! (you can call me a stalker if you want, all I know is that it worked.) I had a productive meeting with the Bank branch manager. She was quite interested in the proposal, she even checked out our website and that brought a smile on my face. She assured me that she would get back to me and she gave me her direct contact details.
I had set out that day to get legal advice, financial advice and hopefully serve and satisfy my customers and be happy at the end of the day. I kind of got one out of the three, I guess it was a good day at the office! Will I get up and do it again tomorrow? Ask me tomorrow! Looking back at it, it was a crappy day. But I also realized that it’s part of being an entrepreneur, no one owes me anything, we aren’t there yet, we are nothing…. no one cares about my story right now. I don’t have all the things that I need, but I need to get things done anyway, there is no room for luxury. The Hustle is necessary and essential, it’s the start to getting where my team and I want to go. I might be down now and feeling emotionally drained but I cannot stop. If I sit down and say I was defeated yesterday, I won’t get anything done. I have a team I have to lead and present that positive “yes we can” spirit even though I’m feeling shattered on the inside.
I can’t sit down, but you know, it’s hard. Even though no one cares about our story right now, we need to tell it anyway. We need to show them who we are and what our intentions are. Maybe in so doing, they will respect our hustle you know. We need to open up and let them know and understand what we are trying to build. Until that happens we have to keep on that grind and work our sleeves off. It’s the only way. Thank you for listening.
NeedEnergy is an Energy utility start-up working from The TechVillage that provides you with alternative sources of energy for your residential areas through an on-demand mobile application. You can download it here and order LP Gas right from the comfort of your home!
Takunda Chingonzoh is the founder of The Village Innovation Network which is a support network that focuses on innovation and technology and its ability to empower organizations and communities through entrepreneurship. The Innovation Network includes organizations like the TechVillage Hub and Velociti Ventures which strive to support startups and the entrepreneurs that create them.